Prop 8 in California
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By hakubaikou   |   Watch
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Published: October 31, 2008
Hi everyone.  I've been debating a good while on whether or not to post this entry.  It feels weird for me to be writing this.  I am, by nature, not a political creature.  I really dislike discussing politics in general.

This is in regards to Proposition 8 for those of you who live in California.  Prop8 aims to make it illegal for same-gender couples to marry.  For basic info, see the wiki article (neutral) or No on Prop 8 (against Prop 8).  

This may not affect me personally, but it affects many of my friends and some of my family, people very dear to me.  So I feel pretty strongly about this:

I would like to ask Californian voters to please consider voting NO on Prop8.  

A friend of mine wrote a very eloquent and heartfelt letter expressing why, and I'd like to share that here.  Because she is personally being affected by this, I think her letter expresses things better than I ever could.  If you have some time, I'd appreciate it if you read this.  And I know Melanie would appreciate it as well:  Melanie's Letter.

If this offends you, I do apologize.  I assure you, that's not my intent.  This is probably the only time I will ever post a political message on my DA page.  I have never done so since I joined DA 5 years ago, and I don't plan on making it a habit in the future.   

Feel free to comment, but please be respectful!  I do NOT want this to turn into a heated debate, so please don't start fighting in this journal.  I will hide any comments that are flames.  (I've never had to do that before.  Hopefully I won't have to now either.)  I'm just asking people to at least consider.  

And if you do happen to share my stance against Prop 8, please don't hesitate to comment and show your support.  

EDIT:  Oh wow, I'm quite surprised (pleasantly so) by these blog entries from Google and Apple.  I hadn't known:  googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/0… and macbook.pro/2008/11/01/apple-s…

Thanks so much for reading!   And thanks for your understanding!  :)

Oh, and on a much lighter note, Happy Halloween, everyone!  I hope those of you who celebrate it have a lovely night with lots of treats!  ^_^

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Comments181
anonymous's avatar
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lavonia's avatar
lavoniaProfessional Traditional Artist
You know, I sort of have the same feelings. I never was really a political person but I feel like the turn the country has taken in recent years its made me more verbal about political issues. Lately, I've been a real motormouth.

Yeah I heard about prop 8.

The ideas that the country was founded on religion is a false one. There were plenty of great historical figures who whose morals were not lead by religion. They did great things for this country and are great people.

Most of the people that I know are spiritual people. I don't see any problem with that. I do see letting that interfere with basic human rights as selfish and ignorant.

I look at it from a historical perspective. When theocracy ruled a culture, that culture remained ignorant and repressed. When knowledge rules a culture, the culture thrives.

Based on the above premise, individual rights must be maintained for the good of the people. This is why I support people's rights to choose.
AlexandreaZenne's avatar
AlexandreaZenne General Artist
I congratulate you on being able to stay calm in your replies. :o
Oogzy's avatar
I agree with you.
Hubby-N-Dad's avatar
ok, in a nutshell, I am a devout Christian, but I believe very strongly in a seperation of church and state, and I'll leave it at that.
twig7998's avatar
If I lived in California I'd vote no on Prop 8. Here in New York the state voted awhile back to recognize gay marriages that were preformed out of state. That way couples married out of state could still have their benefits when they moved to NY. Which was good to see pass, If my husband and I moved to another state our marriage is still valid. Why should it be any different for gay couples that have been married.

But about a year ago there was a couple where one person worked at the local community college, and wanted her partner to share her health benefits. Our county executive decided to take the case to court, not wanting to have the county pay for the partner's health care. (It's the county community college which falls under the county government). Of course the executive claims she has nothing against gays and that she's only interested in protecting our tax dollars. Yet with all the times this case has been in and out of the various NY courts I'm sure our tax dollars have been spent more on that then they would have on the benefits in the first place. It's also been said that by recognizing an out of country marriage we are letting Canada tell us New Yorkers what to do. Which is pretty poor reasoning considering the state decided to recognize out of state marriages in the first place.

I did read Melanie's Letter, and it was well written. While I believe that the government has no right to dictate what religion can and can't believe/teach, it bothered me when Melanie mentioned the Mormon church donating to support Prop 8. Whatever religious organizations want to believe is fine, so long as they don't try to get the rest of us to follow what they believe. But here they have tax exempt status and are using money to try and sway politics. This reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once "Religion should stay out of politics or be taxed".

With all the issues against gay marriage, personally I can't see just the marriage issue without religion being involved. Probably because it seams like most of the time someone is against gay marriage they say it's because of their religious beliefs. I was raised Roman Catholic, going to church every Sunday. What sticks with me the most is "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you". (I'm not a practicing Catholic anymore). I don't see why whatever government levels recognizing a gay couple enjoying the same legal status as a man and a women would undermine whatever religion believes in regards to homosexuality.

Ack, I hope that made sense. I wanted to say something about how I felt, and I'm not sure if that came out right. I just hope I can see the day where our country can afford the same rights to all it's citizens, no matter what race, religion, gender, disabilities, and sexual orientation. And stop hiding behind religion to oppress people.
hakubaikou's avatar
Oh, it made sense to me. Thanks for sharing. :)
Obi-quiet's avatar
Did you know that if Proposition 8 turns out positively for gay marraiges then I may not be able to worship in my church services?

No matter where anyone stands on this, don't you think it's better that people should choose what they believe instead of having it defined by the country?

I don't think gay couples are right...and I have every right to believe that. I won't ever hurt or hate anyone for thinking otherwise. They have that right too. That's what the constitution gives us (supposedly), and I will respect that. I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. --Voltaire

However, any church that proclaims they will not perform homosexual marriages can have their tax exempt taken away or even shut down. Anyone who preaches against it can be tried as a hate crime.

Doesn't sound like a separation of Church and State to me. Sounds like the government trying to force everyone to believe something.

Personally, I think they should come up with another name for a homosexual couple, then give them the same or at least similar rights as a married couple. Personally, I don't like doing that, but I'd be willing to compromise, you know?

Whether people agree with it or not, or whether everyone thinks I'm bigoted or pig-headed doesn't matter. I have that right under the constitution, and personally won't stand for such freedom to be taken away.

I'm not trying to offend, and I'm not trying to argue...I guess I'm just stating my view.
Nopenname's avatar
The tax exempt status thing is a flat out lie.

Rabbis can refuse to not marry two non-Jewish (or one Jewish individual to a non-Jewish individual) individuals and not have their tax exempt status.

Catholic priests can refuse to marry a couple if they’re not both Catholic.

Only Mormons in good standing can even attend a Mormon wedding inside a temple, and Mormon bishops can refuse to marry non-Mormons.

So why haven’t the Catholic Church and the Church of Latter Day Saints lost their tax-exempt status in California, like Law Professor Peter Peterson says they might if gay people are allowed to marry and those churches refuse to marry them?

Because churches are private actors, guaranteed freedom of religion in the California Constitution.

California Constitution:

SEC. 4. Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed. This liberty of conscience does not excuse acts that are licentious or inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State. The Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

SEC. 8. A person may not be disqualified from entering or pursuing a business, profession, vocation, or employment because of sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.

SEC. 31. (a) The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.


Yes on Prop 8 is clearly not above flat out lying to get votes.

No civil rights should be decided by popular election. Period.
Obi-quiet's avatar
But what happens when two people who claim to be of the religion are refused a ceremony because the religion won't support it? At that point, if marriage is defined between two people instead of a man and a woman, then that religion is discriminating, and in a court, it would be very difficult to continue to maintain those beliefs without then losing their tax exempt status. How much longer until their refusal is considered a hate crime?

Besides, churches have been threatened in Massechusets because of this very same issue, and there was a Baptist church that had that very problem. It lost it's tax exempt status because they refused to marry a same sex couple. Maybe this one won't take all of our rights away, but it will open the door wide open to do so.

-- In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities shut down its adoption work -- which was widely praised -- rather than follow a state rule requiring that homosexuals be allowed to adopt. The religious organization made the move in 2006 after more than a century of adoption work. It had handled more adoptions of foster care children than any agency in Massachusetts.

[link]

It's not lies, it's predictions. Once it becomes a law, the government can step in

And obviously the voting "No" isn't above lying either.
Nopenname's avatar
The adoption program story does not wash. Considering that while it is a church run adoption program adoption is a state sanctioned and regulated practice, Birth certificates, child birth and parentage are all explicitly and exclusively state held documents/and functions.

Furthermore Massachusetts' Constitution is the problem. The California constitution already protects churches, temples, etc. as individual entities with the religious freedom.

The elected Justices of the California Supreme Court made that very clear when they ruled, citing Article 1, Section 4 of the California Constitution, in a decision written by Republican Ronald George, that the State could no longer discriminate against gay people who wished to marry:

Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 4.)

It is a boogeyman from a state over 3000 miles away that simply does not hold water.
Obi-quiet's avatar
So to run with the government, we should have to give up all of our own beliefs? Sorry, doesn't run with me. Maybe I am more upset with Massachusetts constitution than otherwise, but I don't want to see it repeated and if California gives in, then the rest of the states will follow (it's happened in the past), and how many of those actually have state constitutions that will uphold those? 3000 miles away, but it's in the same country. We're called the United States for a reason. Every state belongs to the whole, supposedly at least. Plus, they've had problems that have not been corrected. I'd say that's cause for minor alarm if not completely justifiable.
hakubaikou's avatar
Say your argument is valid, and churches do risk losing their tax breaks. How is that a loss of rights? The religion is not suddenly illegal or invalid. They're still recognized. And they are still protected under law and free to practice their religious beliefs. They can still get private funding like any other non-religious organization that doesn't get tax breaks. The only difference is that they don't get the special tax break. Freedom of religion means you're free to worship as you please without fear of harm or persection. Freedom of religion does not mean freedom from taxes. That's just an extra perk that churches happen to enjoy, but I don't think it's a basic right.

How is potentially (I say potentially since it's not written in the law, and this is based on fears of what might be, rather than direct wording on paper)... How is potentially losing public funding even on the same level as having a law that directly states in no uncertain terms that a person will lose the right to marry?

As a straight woman, I've always taken my right to marry for granted. I've always know that someday, if I fall in love with the right man, I'll marry, and we'll have a home together. Our marriage will be protected by the law, and everyone will recognize us legally as a family when we have kids. It never even occured to me that such rights could be taken away.

And then I think of my gay friends. They never chose to fall in love with a same-gendered person, and they can't "reform" and choose to fall in love with someone of the opposite gender, no more so than I could choose to fall in love with a woman. But here they are, in love, wanting to marry, but for them, it's not so simple. In two days, their rights might be gone. And a gay woman would not be able to marry the love of her life. She would not be able to make a home for them and have kids, not with legal protections, she can't.

I keep thinking to myself, what did the gay woman do that's so wrong for her to deserve losing these rights that I so easily have? Am I better than her in some way? Have I done something noble to deserve to marry whom I please? Or has she done something bad? What is it about her that is so awful that she's denied rights even hardcore criminals have? Heterosexual drug dealers are free to marry. Heterosexual rapists are free to marry. Heterosexual murderers on death row are free to marry. (And I'd venture to say they're a far greater risk on the sanctimony of marriage than any gay person I know.) But when it comes to gay people, those rights are suddenly subject to public opinion? It's not on the same level as a tax exemption, something that is given to a select few and is not a basic right. It's a right that everyone (or supposedly everyone) born in the U.S. has.

If Prop 8 passes, it'll be a crushing blow for my friends, in a way that goes, IMO, far beyond losing a public tax break. And I will be quite nervous by the precedence it sets. The government can directly, and explicitly, take your rights away if someone out there disapproves of your lifestyle, a lifestyle that doesn't hurt anyone. Scary, scary thought.
Obi-quiet's avatar
Because once a church loses their tax exempt status, it becomes much more difficult to build churches, gain land to do so, be recognized by government organizations, and even meet without serious opposition (which under the constitution shouldn't exist-- 1st amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances). In and of itself, such a status could be considered discrimination in and of itself, but I digress.

I hate to say it, but the society is tied in so much with money, that a lot of the charities that need to be run in non-profit organizations (many if not most of them religious based) will be hurt incredibly, and it will all and all become much more difficult to maintain these types of organizations.

The government already can basically come in and take away rights. I heard about a guy in New York who had his land taken away for the better good of the people (apartments owned and run by the state, not the people were built there by the way) without compensation. Now I don't know the details, so they might have really had just cause. Knowing the government, I doubt it.

I don't think that this would set a perminant standard either. Whether I approve of it or not I just think that a better solution can be reached, IE giving a homosexual union a different name (other than marriage) and rights under that name. Even if that's not the best solution, I think a better one can be reached.
hakubaikou's avatar
Obi-quiet, I'm not sure where you're hearing that information from. As far as I understand, a No Prop 8 allows two gay people to marry and makes no mention of anything else. If it doesn't pass, it would leave the current law exactly as is, and currently, churches are not penalized in any way for refusing to marry gay couples. They're constitutionally protected against such a thing.

"Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 4.)"

So I'm not sure where you're getting your information from. Is it an official source? Or an unofficial source? If it is official, I'd like to see it.

As far as I know, the only rights under threat are those of gay couples. From the sources I've read, I've found no documentation stating that a church's tax-exempt status would be taken away. Quite the contrary, actually.
Obi-quiet's avatar
The thing is, it has happened in other states. There have been churches that have lost their tax exempt status: To support its claim that churches' tax-exempt status could be at risk, the Yes on 8 campaign cited a New Jersey case where same-sex couples who wanted to have a commitment ceremony were denied use of a beach pavilion owned by a Methodist-affiliated organization. The state, saying the pavilion was not open to the public on an equal basis, revoked the tax-exempt status of the pavilion. This did not apply to the organization or the rest of its property, but it did happen.

-- In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities shut down its adoption work -- which was widely praised -- rather than follow a state rule requiring that homosexuals be allowed to adopt. The religious organization made the move in 2006 after more than a century of adoption work. It had handled more adoptions of foster care children than any agency in Massachusetts.

With the assistance of Governor Mitt Romney, the Catholic Church approached the Massachusetts State Legislature requesting an exemption be made based on religious exemption. It was not granted. Rather than lose the needed funding for their other services, or compromise their values, Boston Catholic Charities decided to shut down their adoption agency to all.

[link]

[link]

I'm sorry, but it sounds like a violation of rights to me.

I'd love to see that not happen...but feel that to believe so would be naive of me.
hakubaikou's avatar
By the way, I haven't responded in such depth to other people in the journal because they didn't seemed inclined to debate it. Whereas, from the tone of your first post ,it seemed like you were more inclined to do so. I hope I've interpreted correctly? If not, sorry about the longwinded posts I just wrote, and I didn't intend to single you out or anything! D:
Obi-quiet's avatar
No no no! I was afraid I'd offended you! I just figure that if I have an opinion, I'd better have a reason to back it up.
hakubaikou's avatar
Oh man, I'm so relieved! I know I'd gone on a couple of really long, potentially offensive posts in response to yours, and I was afraid it'd piss you off. You're such a regular visitor to my journals and polls, I'd feel so guilty if I'd upset you. :hug:
Obi-quiet's avatar
Don't feel guilty to stand up for something, even if you offend someone. Still, I'm not easily offended anyway...highly opinionated, yes. Easily offended...well, I hope not. ;) :hug:
hakubaikou's avatar
Hmm, but that situation was different. They had not refused to marry a gay couple. They had, however, refused to rent the public pavilion out to a gay couple who wanted to use it for a civil union. Since the pavilion was supported publicly, it was required to serve publicly.

If they wanted to be able to choose whether or not to rent it out, then that would be appropriate if they were privately funded. But they weren't. And as you said, the denial was only for the pavilion, not the rest of the church. A public place is a public place. You shouldn't get public funding if you intend to use the property as if it were private. It'd be like having a public school refuse to admit gay children. It's a public school. They have to serve everyone equally.

It's the same with the adoption work. Personally, I don't even feel that it's right for churches to receive tax exemptions based solely on religion. I can't say I enjoy the thought of paying taxes to support organizations whose beliefs are sometimes in direct opposition to my own. But it happens. And I pay my taxes anyway. And I'm totally drifting off the point....

By the way, back to the pavilion, I find the end of the following quote to be particularly interesting:

"A recent ad by the proponents of Prop 8 warned that churches could lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to perform same-sex marriages. As evidence, the campaign pointed to a 2007 New Jersey case in which a lesbian couple wanted to have a civil union at a beach pavilion owned by a Methodist ministry but was denied use of the facility. While the state decided to revoke the pavilion's tax-exempt status, the Yes on 8 camp failed to point out that the status of the ministry itself was unaffected. Later, Frank Schubert, manager of Yes on 8, was forced to acknowledge "a church would be very likely permitted to refuse to perform a gay wedding in the church with no risk to their tax exemption."

For every article supporting Prop 8, I can find one that denounces it. Both sides of the issue have experts chiming in. Both sides make claims that the other side is trampling on rights. So, I guess we can really only go by what we feel is right, which is all I would expect of anyone. I'm no expert. I'm making my decision based on what I've read on the matter. I've been browsing through California's official government site and looking at the constitution. And from what I've read, I don't see a threat to religion in any of the text.

I honestly don't believe that religious organizations will be threatened by this. They're protected by article 1 of the state constitution. But if they were, as unfortunate as it would be, I would consider the consequences to an organization less of an evil than the direct denial of rights to gay couples. One is a terrible disappointment, yes. But the other is a downright tragedy in my eyes, since it affects whether a couple can have a legally protected family. And the direct disruption of a family is far more damaging, IMO, than losing, say, a pavilion or public funding (which I have stated, I don't agree with in the first place.)

When I read articles written by pro Prop 8 organizations, I can't help substituting the word "blacks" or "atheists" or "jews" or "pole dancers" or "shoplifters" in for the gay couple, and it sounds so obviously wrong to me. In my mind, this is no different. I'm well aware that many people disagree, but that's just my take on the matter.

I'm from a minority group myself, one that is quite unpopular itself and is often not protected by state laws against discrimination. That's probably why I feel so strongly about this one even though I'm not gay myself.

Anyway, sorry for the crazy long rant. And I might have said things that are highly offensive to you. And for that, I apologize. I really hope I haven't upset you too much.

If you're a citizen of California, then by all means, vote for what you feel is right. I'm sure you'd understand that I also feel very strongly and must make a public plea for the sake of my own conscience and morals. If Prop 8 is accepted, I'd feel terrible. But if it's accepted, and I never spoke out about it or made an effort to support my own side, I'd feel even worse, you know? :)

Agree to disagree?
Obi-quiet's avatar
Why would that be offensive? You have your opinion, it just differs from mine. Normally I'm an optimist, but when it comes to the government I would have to say I'm more pessimistic. It's happened before, when someone gives a little, a lot is eventually taken from them. I honestly feel that's what will happen here.

My biggest problem was the catholic adoption agencies. I don't feel they should have had to close down (especially when good adoption agencies are so desperately needed) like that. I also feel that if I support such action (adoption to gay or lesbian couples from these particular agencies, allowing a homosexual union to be called a marriage, etc) that I will in truth be supporting the act which I believe to be wholly wrong.

I wouldn't want my children to learn that something I feel so strongly against is right. This will change the definition of marriages and unions all over. School curriculum will change, and I would really like to believe that people will be satisfied with this...but even groups with the best intentions tend to go too far. I think that's human nature "take as much as you can when you can" type thing. Rarely in history has human kind not done so.

Personally, I would never hate or shun anyone for having such beliefs. One of my best friends considers herself bisexual, while I have had fairly close relationships with at least two other people. That doesn't account for many acquaintances and coworkers who were homosexual. They just differ from mine and as such I cannot support it.

Does that make sense?
TheChibiPhoenix's avatar
My mom is voting yes on it. So I'm canceling out her vote 8D

I'm pretty angry about her vote, but if I can do something to at least not make it count, then that's what I'm going to do.

I can't believe people want to legalize discrimination.
hakubaikou's avatar
I'm sure your mom has her reasons for voting yes, but I must admit, I'm so glad you're going to cancel it out. ^_^
TheChibiPhoenix's avatar
She's a Catholic who takes the bible too literally D8;

I know all the friends I've asked are voting now. I hope our side wins <3
anonymous's avatar
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